Kay: Not bad for your second day of work, is it?
Jay: This definitely rates about a 9.0 on my weird-shit-o-meter.
Kay: You should’ve been here for the Zeronian migration in 1968.
— From “Man in Black” 1997
And I’m saying if you work in a global company (especially if you are under 30), you could really use a weird-shit-o-meter.
Just for fun, rate everything: oh, that decision is 6 on a weird-shit-o-meter. That project seems benign so probably just 3.4, oh wait, now it’s reaching the dizzying height of 3.9. Did you see that email? Based on the context, I give it 9.92 out of 10 on the weird-shit-o-meter, in my humble opinion.
- Have a sense of humor. It’s more fun than taking things personally. Human communication is imperfect. I cannot just copy and paste my thought directly from my brain into your brain. I have to speak or write in words, while you have to listen or read in words. [See. That’s obviously my favorite one-way direction. Ha!] Adding culture/ language differences and psychological/ geographical distance into the mix, what you get is…(you know exactly what I mean). In IT, we had it easy already because programming and networking technical terms are standardized and universal. Cut everyone some slack, will you? Lighten up. And then, focus on the issues, fact, solutions and actions.
- You don’t know what you don’t know. It really helps to explore, to go where no man has gone before and, BANG, innovation. Rather than getting intimated by the unknown, lean into it and observe it like the man-in-black observes the aliens. Admit and accept that you are going to see things you are not used to and meet people you find strange. It doesn’t make those things wrong or those people bad. You are just not used to them and not “worldly and sophisticated” yet. Having a weird-shit-o-meter will turn those serious work problems into a game. Go look for weirdness, get involved in one, or create one. The point is not to be weird just for weird sake. The point is to strive for your goals, by making use of the unknown instead of ignoring or getting paralyzed by it. There is a reason why company want more diversity in their workforce. Diversity exposes the unknown which in turns breeds innovation. Take advantage of the diversity and the unknown.
- Moving things from painful to weird makes them less painful to revisit. You learn and grow most from your mistakes and set-backs. It is painful to revisit failures. So, instead of putting things on your pain-o-meters, you can put them on your weird-shit-o-meter. You always have time for weird and fascinating stuff, don’t you? I think so. I know so.
What more can I say? Take your weird-shit-o-meter. Keep your head cool and your heart strong. The whole universe is waiting.